Quick Edit: The stabilizing numbers I first obtained are not best for analysis of individual players, according to the article cited. I have adjusted necessary sample sizes accordingly.
This is when some things stabilize:
ISO – 550 PA
OBP – 500 PA
SLG – 500 PA
OPS – 500 PA
500 plate appearances is a significant number. According to correlation studies, at 500 PAs we start to get an idea about a player’s ability in terms of some of the major stats, OBP, SLG, and OPS. Ichiro has the most PAs for the M’s so far, and yet, he only has 100 after today. Soooo, we shouldn’t take too much away from any of the M’s OBPs or SLGs.
This is when other things stabilize:
HR/FB % – 300 PA
FB% – 250 PA
GB/FB Rate – 200 PA
How about these:
BB% - 200 PA
K% - 150 PA
LD% – 150 PA
Pitches/PA – 150 PA
Contact % - 100 PA
Swing % – 50 PA
That’s more like it! At this point in the season, swing rates have already stabilized for most, and the rest are soon to follow. I think this is part of why Harrison is so pumped about Michael Saunders.
As of right now, Saunders has a BB% of 12%, and as Harrison noted, he’s not swinging at pitches outside the zone as much as he used to. While his overall swing% and contact% are actually around his career average, we’ve seen an increase in “good contact.” His LD% and HR/FB% are both up. At 75 PA, it’s not a stretch to say that something has probably improved. We still can’t forget his 635 major league PAs of relative futility leading up to this season, but Saunders appears to be making better contact when he does hit the ball, and that’s something.
Here are the rest of our beloved (no, not you, Miguel) Mariners. Deep red indicates massive decline from past performance, yellow is pretty neutral, and the greener the better!
The chart shows this season’s stats for each player (through Saturday), and the color indicates improvement or decline from past years. Guys like Ichiro have a lot of data to compare to, while Liddi only had 44 PAs last season.
But in any case, the chart shows us a few things:
*That the Mariners haven’t allowed a single player to the plate that owns a first name in the second half of the alphabet.
*That Liddi has seen marked improvement in his swing statistics. However, at 35 PA we have to be wary of the regression bug.
*That Ichiro’s showing mild improvement to this point in most categories, especially in driving the ball.
*Olivo isn’t doing significantly better or worse at anything in this chart, even though he probably had the most room to improve.
*There are ten dark green boxes versus just six dark red boxes…so that’s gotta be good.
I intend to keep this chart up-to-date on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, and add in more statistics as the sample sizes become appropriate. At some point I will also provide a chart comparing each Mariner to the league average. Microsoft Excel is a wonderful toy.
Oh, and thanks to Fangraphs for the sweet custom reports, and the famous sample size research from Pizza Cutter.